Residents and visitors of Pennsylvania have an endless amount of activities to do. From what to do over a long weekend to enjoying indoor recreation and finding a unique local brewery, everyone can find something they enjoy doing in PA, and visiting historical landmarks are no exception.
Most people immediately think of Pennsylvania history as being centered in Philadelphia with the Liberty Bell, but the entire state is rich with historical homes. Here are five historical houses worth a visit in Pennsylvania!
Shortly after arriving at Valley Forge, George Washington needed a place to organize plans for the army that would reside there in the winter of 1777 and the spring of 1778. Mrs. Deborah Hewes stayed in the house owned by Isaac Potts, and Washington rented it out–a common practice for army generals at that time. Washington used the house to take care of daily operations for the continental army.
Washington’s Headquarters, or the Isaac Potts house, is located in southeastern Pennsylvania and is a main attraction of Valley Forge National Historical Park. The restored house became a National Historical Landmark in 1972 and is now open to the public.
The Shriver House Museum connects visitors to the civilian side of the Battle of Gettysburg. Built in 1860, the home was restored and is a space to educate visitors on life before, during, and after the Civil War. Each room preserves the way of life in 1860. The house also served as a filming location for PBS, the History Channel, A&E, the Discovery Channel, and more.
The Shriver House Museum is located in Gettysburg, PA and is open for tours at select times throughout the year.
Before becoming a historic site, Grey Towers was a summer retreat for James and Mary Pinchot. The couple realized the innovation coming to the country in the 19th century was damaging the environment and encouraged their son, Gifford, to pursue a career in forestry. Gifford went on to be come America’s first forester and founder of the USDA Forest Service. He was also elected to be the Governor of Pennsylvania twice and he eventually donated Grey Towers and its surrounding 102 acres to the United States Forest Service.
Grey Towers Heritage Association is located in Milford, Pennsylvania and offers tours run by the U.S. Forest Service during certain seasons.
As the oldest homestead in Lancaster County, the Hans Herr House is a historic landmark. Christian and Anna Herr built the house in 1719 and it is the oldest original Mennonite meeting house. It works to preserve the history, faith, and life of the area’s first European settlers. It was home for several of the Hans Herr’s family until the early 1900s. The house and surrounding areas were restored to reflect life as it was in 1749.
The Hans Herr House is open to the public 45-minute tours at scheduled times throughout the year and also offers special events.
In 1874, Asa Packer built the mansion for his son Harry as a wedding gift. Packer was also the founder of Lehigh Valley Railroad and Lehigh University. Harry made additions to the house in the 1880s, and Robert and Patricia Handwerk purchased the mansion in 1983. While the property is a bed and breakfast, visitors enjoy learning the history behind each room in the mansion on self-guided tours—the mansion was also the inspiration for the Disney move, “Haunted Mansion.” The first floor is always open and the second floor is open when guests do not occupy rooms.
Kendra is a content writer with a BA in literature from Wilkes University. When she’s not reading up on the latest home decorating trends, Kendra is busy designing her future home, library included.